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Today (Monday 19 June 2023) the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) announces a new series of its in-house podcast, Interval Drinks, with the first episode featuring multi-award-winning author of Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrell, interviewed by director of the RSC’s sell-out stage adaptation, Erica Whyman, ahead of the production’s transfer to the Garrick Theatre in London this autumn.

New episodes from the series will become available to download every Thursday at 11am and will feature conversations between director and environmental activist Elizabeth Freestone, Chief Executive of The Royal Meteorological Society Dr Liz Bentley, actor Ibraheem Toure, Artistic Director of Trybe House Theatre, Philip J Morris, writer and director Charlie Josephine, Artistic Director and joint CEO, of Cardboard Citizens, Chris Sonnex, RSC Associate Artist Alexandra Gilbreath and Wellbeing in the Arts founder, Adam Bamborough.

Interval Drinks is an opportunity to learn more about the life of the RSC from those at the heart of the Company. The Podcast offers audiences a rare insight into the professional journeys of these RSC artists, as well as a chance to explore the craft of modern theatre and discuss some of the biggest issues facing the theatre industry today.

In episode one, Winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, Maggie O’Farrell talks with director and former acting artistic director of the RSC, Erica Whyman. They discuss Hamnet, the novel and the process of putting it on stage, as well as Hamlet and autobiography in fiction, including the part Shakespeare’s son, Hamnet, plays in his work.

The stage production of Hamnet will transfer direct to London’s Garrick Theatre this autumn after selling out ahead of its world premiere at the newly restored Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon this April.  The production will run for a limited 14-week season from Saturday 30 September 2023 – Saturday 6 January 2024 with a press performance on Wednesday 18 October 2023. 

Hamnet has sold over a 1.5 million copies worldwide and was named both Waterstones Book of the Year and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2020. The novel also saw Maggie O’Farrell named the winner of the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction; the UK's most prestigious annual book award celebrating and honouring fiction written by women. As the No. 1 Sunday Times Bestseller in 2021, Hamnet was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction (2021) and British Book awards ‘Fiction Book of the Year’ (2021).

In episode two, director Elizabeth Freestone, who recently directed the RSC’s critically acclaimed and climate crisis inspired production of The Tempest, speaks to Dr Liz Bentley, Chief Executive of The Royal Meteorological Society, about the climate crisis and the place of theatre and the arts within that, as well as the mini ice age that happened in Shakespeare’s lifetime. Episode two will be available to download on Thursday 29 June.

Episode three features actor and learning practitioner Ibraheem Toure interviewing Artistic Director of Trybe House Theatre, Philip J Morris about their own first encounters with Shakespeare and how they make those first encounters for young people. Episode three will be available to download on Thursday 6 July.

In the fourth episode, writer and director of the RSC’s upcoming production Cowbois, Charlie Josephine, meets Artistic Director and joint CEO, of Cardboard Citizens, Chris Sonnex to talk about “theatre and about class and about identity and about passion”, including making theatre for and about people that have lived experience of homelessness, poverty and inequity. Episode four will be available to download on Thursday 13 July.

In the final episode of the series, actor and RSC Associate Artist Alexandra Gilbreath speaks with Wellbeing in the Arts founder Adam Bambrough. Alex is currently marking her 30th year with the RSC, and was recently seen in Gregory Doran’s production of Cymbeline before starting rehearsals for The Empress. They talk about mental health in the theatre industry, stage fright itself as well as their own experiences and getting help. Episode five will be available to download on Thursday 20 July.

The series launched in Spring 2021, bringing together members of the RSC’s acting company with inspirational personalities from the Company’s history. Previous episodes include conversations with Adjoa Andoh, Justin Audibert, Paul Chahidi, Tinuke Craig, Kate DiCamillo, Juliet Gilkes Romero, John Kani, Lucien Msamati, Tim Minchin, Femi Temowo, David Tennant and David Threlfall.

Each episode of the series is available to download for free via the RSC website, as well as multiple podcast platforms, including Spotify and Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes). There are also vodcast episodes with Charlotte Arrowsmith and Sophie Woolley available via the RSC YouTube channel.

The music is ‘Oberon’s Theme – King of Shadow’, originally composed by Sam Kenyon for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2016).



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The RSC is supported using public funding by Arts Council England

The work of the RSC is supported by the Culture Recovery Fund

The RSC is generously supported by RSC America

The RSC Acting Companies are generously supported by The Gatsby Charitable Foundation

Arts Council England

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)

The Royal Shakespeare Company creates world class theatre, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world, performing plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, as well as commissioning an exceptionally wide range of original work from contemporary writers. Our purpose is to ensure that Shakespeare is for everyone, and we do that by unlocking the power of his plays and of live performance, throughout the UK and across the world.

We believe everybody’s life is enriched by culture and creativity. We have trained generations of the very best theatre makers and we continue to nurture the talent of the future. Our transformative Learning Programmes reach over half a million young people and adults each year, and through our Placemaking and Public Programme we create projects with and for communities who have not historically engaged with our work. We are a leader in creative immersive technologies and digital development.

We have a proud record of innovation, diversity and excellence on stage and are determined to grasp the opportunity to become an even more inclusive, progressive, relevant and ambitious organisation.

We are committed to being a teaching and learning theatre – in which we create world class theatre for, with and by audiences and theatre makers of all ages. We provide training for emerging and established theatre makers and arts professionals, for teachers and for young people. We share learning formally and informally. We embed training and research across our company, work and processes.

We recognise the climate emergency and work hard to embed environmental sustainability into our operations, creative work and business practice, making a commitment to continually reduce our carbon footprint.

Keep Your RSC supports our mission to create theatre at its best, unlocking Shakespeare and transforming lives. Thousands of generous audience members, trusts and foundations and partners supported Keep Your RSC in 2020 and, alongside a £19.4 million loan from the Culture Recovery Fund, we are thrilled to be welcoming audiences back. It will take time to recover, to reopen all our theatres, and many years to repay the loan and the support and generosity of our audiences is more important than ever. Please donate at


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